Farmers of the home – promoting small scale urban farming
Abalimi Bezekhaya (meaning farmers of the home in isiXhosa), established 1982, is a non-profit micro-farming organisation that aims to provide basic human necessities for indigent persons, by assisting impoverished groups and communities within the area of Greater Cape Town known as the Cape Flats to establish and maintain their own vegetable gardens, so as to enable those groups and communities to supplement their existing, inadequate supply of food and create livelihoods.
Harvest of Hope was set up as a social business that connects the producer and consumers within the food system more closely. It allows the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of the Abalimi farmers and thus share the risks of farming through the purchase of fresh organic vegetable boxes. While Harvest of closed down in December 2019 as a “middle man” buying and selling veggies, we still support farmers with market access and focus on local veggie sales and working with strategic partners for distribution.
Abalimi Bezekhaya promotes small scale urban farming. We are a development organization rather than charity, because we partner with active members of the community to aid their efforts in greening, growing and bettering their communities.
We provide training, supplies and support to enable the urban poor to obtain employment or become self-employed as gardeners, gardening assistants and urban micro-farmers.
We furthermore engage in the conservation, rehabilitation and protection of the natural environment within the Cape Flats.
Our garden centers are based in local communities and our Harvest of Hope program helps maintain stable income security for these urban farmers.
Harvest of Hope
Harvest of Hope Takes a Bow
Harvest of Hope was established in 2008 with the aim to provide market access to the farmers who wanted to sell surplus veggies. Harvest of Hope was launched at the beginning of 2008 with the kind assistance of the South African Institute of Entrepreneurship (SAIE), The Business Place Philippi and the Ackerman Pick n’ Pay Foundation.
We started marketing veggies from farmers in the townships long before anybody else was doing it. What started as a humble offering to school communities, grew to a shift in the market and encouraged other organizations to buy vegetables from the townships.
Since 2008 Harvest of Hope has sold over R16 million worth of vegetables, of which around R10 million was paid directly to farmers. Veggies were grown at about 70 different gardens scattered around the townships, annually supporting around 245 farmers and their 1225 dependents. This was sustained over 11 years, and we believe these farmers will continue in the future and grow from strength to strength.
Abalimi has however decided to focus on the core support to farmers around food security. While we will still assist farmers with market access, we will no longer be running Harvest of Hope as a project. Formal operations will wrap up towards the end of December, while we work with farmers, clients and staff to find alternative solutions.
We have to thank and acknowledge all our loyal customers for their ongoing support. From local families to the top restaurants in town – you made it happen. We hope that you will continue to support our farmers while we collaborate with organisations such as OZCF Market, Edible Co, PEDI, Umthunzi, Lentegeur and others.
It is also exciting to see some of our gardens take up the challenge and deliver directly to our larger clients. Where Harvest of Hope acted as an intermediary, there is now enough of a market for the farmers to engage directly with the clients and take it to the next level!
“It’s a graduation, not a funeral”
Abalimi has community garden centres in both Khayelitsha and Nyanga that provide affordable and accessible resources such as seedlings, manure, tools, ferterlizers and pest control, and act as demonstration gardens used for training purposes.
These centres are based in the community and run by fieldworkers from the community, thus making them accessible and affordable to our target ‘grassroots’ communities. Fieldworkers provide ongoing support to the numerous home gardens and community gardens based at schools, clinics and on municipal land.
Our field workers go around to home and community gardens to provide practical training support on the ground (extension services) for growing organic veggies in sandy soils in the Cape Flats.